Thursday, January 29, 2015

The great treadmill debate

Hamster wheel or training tool?
A member of a Facebook running group I'm a part of asked a simple question that devolved into a debate of the pros and cons of treadmill running.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I use the treadmill pretty exclusively once the temperatures drop. I've done two spring marathons training on the treadmill, and after the last I don't think I'll do another. But I'll run a steady 4-10 miles a few days a week on the 'mill to keep my base up for the impending race season.

The poster asked a simple question and one man replied to get off the treadmill and run outside. She responded that her asthma didn't allow her to do that. After a bit more back and forth, I commented that the "treadmill shaming" was unnecessary, and no one should care how anyone else got their mileage in. (I should point out that that comment got 18 "likes.")

The same man then posted that treadmills are "weak" and boring (OK, that we can agree on) and then called me out personally to say there was "nothing unnecessary" about treadmill shaming. Really? I took offense to that, and a few other people chimed in that they run on the treadmill because of work schedules, or young children at home, or ice storms, or whatever.

Of course I love to run outside, and I do it whenever I can. But there are some times when it just doesn't work. And I don't think anyone needs to make anyone else feel bad for how they run. Miles are miles.

Thoughts? Am I just being oversensitive? Do you treat the treadmill as a tool, or do you avoid it at all costs?


  1. Treadmill is a necessary evil where we live. There is a literal blizzard outside right now and if someone thinks you just need to HTFU then they are a moron. Sure, I could bundle up and run outside, but the footing is treacherous, cars can't see me, and cars are sliding all over the place. This is a great example of why they have a place in any training plan, though I do prefer heading to the Y and running on an indoor track. Unfortunately that gets boring as well.

  2. Agreed -- I can't even walk down my street right now. Oh well, soon enough we will be complaining about the heat!